The “why” is more important than the “what”.
I’ve often been told this as a new and clueless parent (still am today):
“If you explain the why to your kids, then it will be easier for them to obey.”
However, based on experience, I haven’t been that successful.
When my eldest was 8 years old, my wife Jenn and I would explain to him why it was important to eat vegetables – the nutritional value and meritorious reasons of developing this habit.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t working.
So we reverted back to “just-do-as-I-say” method.
As the years came by, and as 3 more kids came, I’ve realized an important lesson.
Yes, the “why” is more important than the “what”.
But more important than the why is the relational trust the child has with the parent.
I have yet to recall a time when I gave wonderful explanations of the rules and then my children would reply,
“Oh, daddy, now we realize the critical importance of what you just explained. You’ve shed light into this matter. Because of that, from now on, we will do exactly what you say!”
That would be the dream but unfortunately it only remains to be a dream.
The problem with rules and reasons is that you can argue with them point by point and debate issue by issue.
But here’s the truth – YOU CANNOT DEBATE A TRUSTED RELATIONSHIP.
The answers we give to their questions never carry more weight than a healthy and trusted relationship.
Listen to what Reggie Joiner has to say…
“One of the most powerful things a parent can do is to learn to communicate in a style that values the relationship.”
It actually is possible to win the argument and yet lose the relationship.
The goal is not to win the debate. The goal is to win the heart.